Pro-Russian Magomedov takes oath of office as Dagestan leader

Magomedov took the oath of office as new president of Caucasus' Dagestan region on Saturday, promising to pardon fighters who turned in weapons.

Pro-Russian Magomedov takes oath of office as Dagestan leader

Magomedsalam Magomedov took the oath of office as new president of Caucasus' Dagestan region on Saturday, promising to pardon fighters who turned in weapons.

Lawmaker and businessman Magomedov, 45, was picked by the Kremlin and swiftly approved by Dagestan's parliament earlier this month.

"I have no illusion that it will be easy," Magomedov said in a speech after being sworn in.

"I have said already ... that we are open to dialogue with those who want to return to normal human life, to peaceful life. We hope for support of religious leaders and representatives of various confessions who traditionally play the main role in the life of Dagestan's society."

Magomedov earlier promised to recruit educated businessmen to shore up the region's rickety economy.

One of the most populous regions in the mainly Muslim north Caucasus, Dagestan borders Chechnya which declared independency after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 but was attacked by Russian forces in two wars since the mid-1990s.

Still low-level insurgency continues in Muslim states controlled by Russia.

Dagestan, meaning "the land of mountains" in Turkic, is also tagged "the Mountain of Languages". Even in Soviet times the key posts were shared out to preserve a delicate equilibrium that prevented any one local ethnic group acquiring too much power.

Avars, Dargins and Kumyks are the three largest nationalities in Dagestan.

Magomedov, an ethnic Dargin, replaced Aliyev who is an Avar. He has already said that "in order to keep ethnic parity" the head of the region's government -- currently a Kumyk -- must be replaced with an Avar. The present chairman of parliament -- also a Dargin -- is widely expected to be replaced by a Kumyk.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2010, 18:43
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